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The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nathan H. Juran
Produced by Charles H. Schneer
Ray Harryhausen
Written by Kenneth Kolb
Starring Kerwin Mathews
Torin Thatcher
Kathryn Grant
Richard Eyer
Alec Mango
Music by Bernard Herrmann
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Editing by Roy Watts
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) December 23, 1958
Running time 88 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $650,000[1]
Followed by The Golden Voyage of Sinbad

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad is a 1958 Technicolor fantasy film released by Columbia Pictures, directed by Nathan H. Juran, and was the first of three Sinbad films made by Columbia which were conceptualized and animated by Ray Harryhausen (the others being The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger).

While similarly named, the film does not follow the plot of the tale "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor."

In 2008, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Contents

Plot

Legendary adventurer Sinbad the Sailor (Kerwin Mathews) and his crew land on an island for provisions. While exploring, Sinbad encounters Sokurah the magician (Torin Thatcher), fleeing from a giant cyclops. They are able to escape, when Sokurah orders the genie of his magic lamp to create a magical barrier, but Sokurah drops the lamp when the cyclops throws a boulder into the sea, overturning their boat. The cyclops finds and keeps the lamp. Though Sokurah offers Sinbad much to get it back for him, Sinbad refuses. He and Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant) are on their way to Baghdad to be married. They are in love and the union would also cement ties between their two nations.

When the Caliph of Baghdad (Alec Mango) refuses to provide Sokurah a ship and crew to retrieve his treasure, the magician secretly shrinks Parisa to the size of a hand. Sokurah claims he knows of a potion that can restore her, but it requires a piece of the eggshell of a roc, a giant, two-headed bird that coincidentally nests on the island of the cyclopses. The caliph has no choice but to provide a ship. Sinbad enlists his loyal men from the previous voyage, but they are not enough, so he also has to recruit thieves and murderers from the Caliph's prison.

When they reach the island, the cutthroats mutiny and capture Sokurah, Sinbad, and his men. However, screaming demons madden the crew, and the ship is in danger of being dashed upon the rocks. One of the mutineers releases Sinbad so he can save the ship. Afterwards, Sinbad regains control of the men.

On the island, Sokurah insists on splitting into two groups, so that if one is caught, the other can try to rescue them. When Sinbad's party is captured by the cyclops, Sokurah refuses to release them from their wooden cage, instead pressing on to retrieve the magic lamp. The cyclops chases him, forcing him to drop the lamp. Meanwhile, Sinbad has Parisa slip between the bars and unlatch the cage. Sinbad manages to blind the cyclops and trick it into falling off a cliff to its death.

Sinbad still needs Sokurah to guide him, but takes possession of the lamp, though he does not know how to use it. Parisa suggests she enter the lamp. Inside, she finds the unhappy boy genie (Richard Eyer). He tells her how to summon him in return for a promise to try to free him.

The party reaches the roc's nest, just as a giant hatchling emerges from its shell. They kill it for food, which results in an attack by the infuriated parent. In the confusion, Sokurah kills Sinbad's faithful lieutenant, abducts the Princess and takes her to his underground fortress.

Sinbad follows, slipping past the chained guardian dragon. Sokurah restores Parisa to her normal size in return for the lamp. However, he reneges, animating a skeleton swordsman (an effect Ray Harryhausen would reuse in Jason and the Argonauts), but Sinbad defeats it. He and the Princess flee. As they cross over a river of molten lava, Parisa recalls part of the prophesy the genie told her about. She persuades Sinbad to throw the lamp into the lava, freeing the genie from his slavery.

Sinbad releases the dragon to fight another cyclops. Sokurah then orders the monster to kill Sinbad. However, Sinbad has time to organize his men to slay the fire-breathing creature with an enormous crossbow, a weapon ironically designed by Sokurah. The mortally-wounded beast falls on Sokurah, killing him. Sinbad, Parisa, and the other survivors depart, joined by the genie, Sinbad's new cabin boy.

Cast

Production

It took Ray Harryhausen 11 months to complete the animation sequences for the film.

Harryhausen gave the cyclops furry goat legs and cloven hooves, an idea lifted from his first concept of the ymir (the monster from 20 Million Miles to Earth). He used the same armature for both creatures.

He researched the cobra-woman sequence (when Sakourah entertains the Caliph and the Sultan) by watching a belly dancer in Beirut, Lebanon. During the performance, Harryhausen says "smoke was coming up [my] jacket. [I] thought [I] was on fire! It turned out the gentleman behind [me] was smoking a hookah!" The cyclops is the film's most popular character, but Harryhausen's personal favorite was the snakewoman, a combination of Princess Parisa's maid, Sadi, and a cobra.

The film's original script had a climax that involved two cyclopes fighting. However, in the final version, the climactic battle featured a cyclops versus a dragon. The model of the dragon was over three feet long and very difficult to animate; the fight took two to three weeks of Harryhausen's time. Originally it was planned to have the dragon breathing fire out of its mouth during the sequence, but the cost would have been too high. For the scenes where the dragon does breathe fire, Harryhausen used a flamethrower against a night sky and shot it out about 30 to 40 feet, then superimposed the shot in the area close to the dragon's mouth.

The term "Dynamation" was first used for this film.

Critical reception

The film was, and continues to be, well-reviewed by critics and audiences alike. It has a 100% rating at the aggregate movie review website Rotten Tomatoes,[2] with several reviewers citing its nostalgic value. Critic Ken Hanke calls it "Childhood memory stuff of the most compelling kind".

See also

References

External links

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